Pardon my language. Allow me to explain.

Amy: Can you help me recreate a sauce?
Me: Sure [said with hesitation]. I can try.
Amy: It’s vegan.
Me: Oh never mind, that’s way out of my league. You’ll have to ask Genesis.
Amy: I already did. She told me to ask you.
Me: Shoot. No promises though [said with confidence].

Next thing you know, we’re sitting around Amy’s kitchen table. Pinkies lifted high. A chip cracker in hand. Palettes cleansed. Let the Bitchin’ Sauce tasting begin. Dip, taste, dip, taste, ponder. Dip, taste, pretend you know what you’re doing, write. And repeat.

Definition: Bitchin’ Sauce (nerb—noun + verb) is a bitchin’ (for lack of a better word) sauce sold at the San Diego farmers market. It comes in 3 varieties—original, chipotle, pesto. It’s both vegan and gluten-free. And the taste? It’s oh-em-gee out of this world! (Coming from a girl who turns her nose up at all things vegan. Mark my word—this sauce made me a lover.) Almonds give the sauce its creamy base. While lemons provide a lovely kick at the end. Its only downfall—you can’t get it in Chicago. Hence Amy’s question—can you help me recreate a sauce?

100 chips later and the dip/taste sequence came to a close. We had a list of ingredients. And yes, we cheated by writing down the ingredients from the label. However, if the word “spices” had been a bit more specific, we could have saved those chips for another time. Travesty.

After the list was secured, we reconvened at Genesis’ house. Wrote up a rough recipe. And turned the VitaMix to high. A couple tweaks later. And Houston, we have Bitchin’ Sauce! Or darn close to it.

Eat it on a chip. Or even on a vegetable. Or stay tuned to how I’ve been eating it everyday for the past 2 weeks. San Diego peeps—how do you eat your Bitchin’ Sauce?

Bitchin Sauce (Original)
Serves: about 2 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 3/4 c. + 2 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 c. raw almonds
  • 1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. lemon juice, fresh
  • 3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp. bragg liquid aminos
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a high-powdered blender (such as a VitaMix). Slowly blend for one minute. Turn the dial up to high, and continue to blend for 1-2 minutes or until smooth and creamy.
  2. Store in the refrigerator. Sauce may separate. Stir and it’s as good as new.
Notes
• Nutritional Yeast and Bragg Liquid Aminos can be found at Whole Foods. If you’re not vegan, the ingredients may seem like a bit of an investment. But let me tell you, it’s one worth making.

• 2 tablespoons = 1/8 cup (If you happen to have one of those laying around.)

• Although I haven’t tried it, I think a food processor will work to make this sauce.

• This sauce doesn’t last long enough in my fridge to figure out its shelf life.

• If you’re stopping through San Diego, you must give the real deal a try. It just might revolutionize your life. Word on the street—they may start shipping soon.

• If doing Whole30, coconut aminos can be substituted for bragg aminos.

Try the chipotle version!

I’ve been holding out on you. Though it wasn’t intentional.

Remember Bitchin’ Sauce, the original version? Conceived 3.25 months ago. Well, she has a sister. And her name is Chipotle. It’s never good to play favorites, but she might just be mine. Her personality is bold and spicy. But she’s not the overbearing type. I think you’ll like her. Read more

When your husband has been out of town all month, you make a bitchin’ bowl for dinner every night. It’s far better than the eggs and toast which usually fill that stark white dinner plate. And it’s ready in five minutes. And for just a second, it makes you forget that you’re alone in a condo fully dressed in Christmas garb at the end of January.

Three and a half years later. One semester to go. My husband is nearing the end of graduate school. At least the school part. He’s currently touring the country interviewing for internships. Connecticut. Maryland. Ohio. Michigan. Tennessee. Illinois (current home). Louisiana. Kentucky. Colorado. In one short month we’ll find out where we’re going. February 24. Match day. A simple email holds our fate. Read more

Pantry Pizza Sauce | @thefauxmartha

You may remember this no-rise pizza crust or this make-ahead Neapolitan-style dough. Here’s the simple, pantry pizza sauce I use to top most every pizza, unless we’re going pesto (which is equally awesome). If I had to guess, you probably have everything sitting in your pantry—tomato paste + water + a couple seasonings. Don’t let the ease deter you. A couple light swirls of a pastey tomato sauce is perfection beneath fresh mozzarella. A little goes a long way in my pizza-loving opinion.

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Promise me one thing this Thanksgiving—no cans of cranberry sauce. Deal? Let me return the favor by promising you—this is the easiest recipe. Evah! And people will actually eat it. You won’t miss the untouched cylindrical cranberry “sauce” fresh with indents from the can. I promise. Read more

Acorn Squash Enchilada Sauce | The Fauxmartha

When my grandparents came to visit as a kid, they’d always sleep in my room. I wouldn’t let my mom take the sheets off after they left. Their smell. I wanted it to last, and the sheets seemed to hold it the longest. I’d cry when it no longer smelled like them but rather me.  Read more

I had no intention of posting this recipe. Enchilada sauce? That’s so boring. But holy cow, after tasting this, I knew I had to share. And selfishly, I’m documenting this for further use. I have this tendency to concoct things and tell myself I’ll remember how to recreate it next time. Kinda like how I told myself I’d never forget high school Spanish. And like how I told myself I didn’t need a video of our wedding. Moral of the story—I can’t remember mucho. Read more

Moms' Lucky Black-Eyed Peas | @thefauxmartha

My mom’s from the south. My dad’s from the north. I grew up with both stuffing and cornbread dressing at holidays to appease the palettes of either pole. But come New Years Day, her southern menu was always on the table. My mom made pork, black-eyed peas, and broccoli casserole (in place of collard or turnip greens). This meal is said to bring health, luck, and prosperity. Maybe the lack of this meal has been your problem all these years? Kidding. I’m no poster child, but tradition keeps me making this menu, especially her black-eyed peas. Read more

I’ve deleted and rewritten this first sentence at least thirty times. I’m forcing myself to reflect on the past year, but I can’t come up with any solid thoughts just yet. Maybe the process of writing it all out will help. I don’t care for New Year’s Day much minus my mom’s black eyed peas. Starting over is hard. As is saying goodbye to family and the anticipation of the holidays. Coming off that high leaves me dog paddling for awhile. Give me a week or two, though, and I’ll make my way to the shore. I’ll find my footing again. Life will take off at an alarming rate. And I’ll beg it to slow down at the start of each new week. But for now, I’m still holding on to 2012.

To that time my friends and I recreated Bitchin’ Sauce while my husband was interviewing all over the country for an internship position.

2012 | The Fauxmartha Read more

How to make really good homemade pizza | @thefauxmartha

Grab a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and your favorite spot on the couch, the spot that leans in. I wrote a novel on how to make really good homemade pizza. It’s quite simple once you get the hang of it and collect the necessary tools. But after making pizza in three apartments, a house, and two states, I’ve come to recognize the amount of nuances in making pizza—a novels worth. We’re going to talk about the essential tools for making pizza at home, how to make a good dough (plus some for the freezer too), how to assemble the pie, plus some general pizza making tips. I’ve included step-by-step pictures as well as a video. If you want this to be your thing, then lets make it your thing. Read more

Chimichurri Aioli | @thefauxmartha

The best things in life are usually accidents first. Like the time I went out for arepas, and they gave me aioli instead of chimichurri for dunking my yucca fries. “No worries,” I said as they brought out the other. And because the aioli was still on my plate, I decided to take the fries in a dip of each. That’s when I landed on the best sauce of my life—Chimichurri Aioli. Herby, zesty, tangy, creamy. All the right things in one vessel instead of two. Read more

Quinoa Burger | @thefauxmartha

Kev leaves for work and comes home to find a more grown up version of Hal. At least that’s what he says 2.5 days out of the week. Of course, I can’t see it because I’m with her half the day. We don’t live near our extended family. Mostly because we’ve yet to convince them to trade in the south for the north. But Summer’s let us enjoy their company. From each appendage of our extended family, usually on the first day of our visit, I get the same question. “Are you a vegetarian now?”
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4-ingredient Tomato Sauce | @thefauxmartha

You know her as Naturally Ella. I know her as Erin, my business partner, my friend, the person I talk with most these days. Hallie knows her as “Enin!”. She hasn’t found her Rs yet. She also knows her as the author of The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen—the book she affectionately wrote notes in while her father wasn’t looking. The book that makes her new favorite meal—fried rice. In a few short weeks, one lucky little boy will know her as mama. Erin is having a baby (!), which is cause for a celebration sans wine. So a bunch of lovely people have gathered via the WWW to send Erin off into motherhood with quick and easy vegetarian recipes.  Read more

Creamy Kalette Baked Pilaf | @thefauxmartha

Growing up in Texas, we learned about fall, winter, and spring from textbooks and encyclopedias. A feed full of changing leaves on Instagram wasn’t a thing then, and connecting to the internet was about like dialing the man on the moon. I always thought the spelling of seasons was a mistake. It’s season. My pen pals from other countries thought we traveled by horse. Come to find out, we lived in the same country and it wasn’t called Texas. I now joke that Texans have a hard time believing in climate change because the climate never changes. I’m kidding. Kinda. Read more

Brussels Sprouts Roasted in a Peanut Harissa Sauce | @thefauxmartha

I’m not good at good-bye. Neither is Hal. She avoids it about as well as she avoids nap-time. Twenty minutes after our guests leave, she rhythmically ask where they are. Somehow she’s forgotten the awkward, prolonged good-bye or lack thereof. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I understand that phrase better now that we have an apple tree in our backyard. The poor kid never had a chance. Read more

Honey Soy Roasted Chickpeas | @thefauxmartha

It started to show itself in the way I kept my hair. Or didn’t. In high school and college I washed, dried, and straightened my hair daily. It was a thing of beauty. Well kept. Perfectly in place. With no sign of unruly wave, even under all those thick, thick layers. It was a good representation of how I saw myself. Of how I saw the world. I was a straight-laced rule follower. My perspective looked a lot like the scenery of The Giver. Things were orderly. Things were black and white. So black and white. Read more

To keep dirty dishes to a minimum when making pasta, I skip the colander. A chef’s knife held at the lip of the pot drains the water perfectly, especially when you’re making smaller quantities. I always reserve a bit of the starchy water as well to help the sauce adhere better to the noodles.

I’m not sure quite what to call this dish. It was born in our tiny little kitchen a couple years ago. We were looking for a healthy dish. Full of flavor. And veggies. With a couple whole grains and some protein. So I looked in the pantry, pulled out a handful of ingredients, and Thai Stir Fry was born. My husband likes to call him Chinese Chili.

This dish is quick, healthy, colorful, and super flavorful. You’ll have dinner on the table in 45 minutes made completely from scratch. That’s right. I timed it. I even spilled a glass of water, cleaned it up, and washed some dishes during the 45 minutes. Call in some help, and you can cut the time down to 30 minutes. This meal will make you look like a super hero.

You’ll need 3 pots for this—one for the rice, one for the veggies, and one for the chicken. You may keel over at the amount of ingredients in this recipe, but most, if not all, will be in your pantry. If you’re not into all the veggies, leave the ones you don’t like out.

Thai Stir Fry
serves 5–6

Rice
2 packets of Kashi 7 Whole Grain Pilaf (Buy at Whole Foods)
Veggies
1 bunch of broccoli, chopped
2 red or yellow peppers, chopped
1 onion, diced
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 c. frozen edamame, shelled
1/3 c. water
salt
olive oil
Chicken + sauce
2 chicken breasts, de-thawed
sesame oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
10 oz. light coconut milk
1/3 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. natural peanut butter
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. ginger
squirt of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
1/4 c. water
2 tsp. cornstarch
Garnish
Cilantro
chopped peanuts

1. Rice: Begin cooking rice according to instructions. This will take about 30 minutes.
2. Veggies: Chop veggies and place in large saute pan. Drizzle with olive oil and salt to taste. Add water. Cover and steam on medium heat for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
3. Chicken: Using kitchen shears, cut chicken into cubes and place directly into pan. (I use a non-stick pan with depth so that it can house the sauce.) Drizzle with sesame oil and cook on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large liquid measuring cup or a bowl, whisk together minced garlic, coconut milk, soy sauce, peanut butter, lime juice, honey, brown sugar, sesame seeds, ginger, and Sriracha sauce. Add into chicken. Allow to cook for another 10 minutes. Combine cornstarch and water. Add to sauce in order to thicken. Stir continuously for 1-2 minutes.
4. Garnish: In a bowl, combine rice, veggies, and chicken. Pour sauce over dish and garnish with cilantro and chopped peanuts. (If you’re like me, add a swirl of Sriracha sauce for added heat.)

TIPS:
• If you’re looking to save even more time, buy frozen stir fry veggies instead. This will eliminate some prep work. However, the veggies may not be as crisp.
• While we love all the different whole grains we get with the Kashi pilaf, feel free to substitute a different rice. I would recommend using a slow cooking rice. Put it on as soon as you start cooking, and it will be done by the time you have prepared everything else. It’s all about timing.
• If you don’t have everything in the pantry, here are some ingredients you can omit without seeing a huge difference: edamame, sesame oil, lime juice, sesame seeds, ginger, and cilantro.

How could you say no to this rice?


It’s back-to-school time again. And it’s kinda a big year for us. No, no little ones on the way. It’s Kevin’s (aka graduate school husband) last year of graduate school. Next year, we leave for internship. Time flies. Three short years ago, we married, moved to Chicago, and Kevin started graduate school in hopes of becoming a clinical psychologist. Hopes are beginning to turn into realities. And I’m gonna have to rewrite the first paragraph of my bio. One year closer to dropping the sugar momma title! Read more